When it was time for Ahwatukee Foothills resident Michelle Milich to get a new dog she figured an American Bulldog, known for no major health problems and low grooming, would be a good choice. She had a family member looking to get rid of an American Bulldog and the timing seemed like fate, but looking back Milich had no idea what fate had in store.

Chloe was 11 months old when her owner in Chicago decided she couldn’t keep her. The dog was simply too skittish and wasn’t getting along with her owner’s husband. Milich was already planning a trip to Chicago at the time so as soon as she arrived she bought a kennel and prepared to take Chloe home with her.

As soon as she saw Chloe, Milich noticed a small rash on the dog’s stomach.

“I asked what was on her stomach and they told me it was contact dermatitis from fertilizer,” she said. “I said OK, I took her to the vet, got all of her shots and papers and they gave me antibiotics, and I ended up bringing her home.”

Months later, after the rash wasn’t going away, Chloe was diagnosed with folliculitus staph and yeast infections, which is caused by an over-active or under-active immune system. Different veterinarians gave Milich more medication to give Chloe. The infection cleared up but weeks later the burgundy, oozing rash would reappear all over her stomach.

“I started to do research,” Milich said. “I tried everything. I would buy and try anything I could to try and help her. For years I kept going through cycles of antibiotics. I thought if I can’t fix her, I’ll have to put her down.”

Milich was at the end of her rope when she finally found a holistic vet who didn’t have a 6-month waiting list. She drove to Prescott and was prescribed some Chinese herbs for Chloe that worked wonders — for a few months, but the success of the holistic treatment gave Milich some hope. She decided to do more research.

Unable to find a dog food that didn’t make the problem worse, Milich began to cook for Chloe herself. It cost nearly $800 and 20 hours a month to prepare and freeze enough meals and supplements for the 80-pound dog.

“I couldn’t let her be sick,” Milich said. “I had no choice. I wasn’t going to give her up.”

Eventually Milich discovered raw food and now on a low-sugar, frozen, raw diet Chloe’s food allergies have been at bay for years, but Milich’s research hasn’t stopped. She’s been able to cure 95 percent of Chloe’s skin problems through nutrition.

Recently, Milich decided it’s time to do something with all the knowledge she has accumulated over the years so she began Chloe’s Corner.

“I’ve spent the past nine years really studying nutrition and wellness for animals,” she said. “Now it’s time for me to share my story and Chloe’s story. I’ve learned so much about holistic and natural. It’s been a long journey, but she came to me for a reason.”

Milich envisions a holistic center where people can bring their pets and receive answers on how to help the most extreme allergies in their pets. For now, she’s offering holistic animal wellness consulting including nutrition and wellness classes and free initial consultations. Chloe’s Corner is also fundraising for 10 no-kill shelter in the Valley, helping fund the Empty Bowl Food Pantry and is volunteering nutritional consulting for animals in shelters and rescues. Milich is going back to school to get a holistic animal nutrition degree to back up all the research she has done over the years.

“I want people to know there are natural, holistic ways to keep your pets healthy,” Milich said. “I just want to help people help their pets be well and live a longer and healthier life. There are so many pieces to the health puzzle.”

Milich has a website for Chloe’s Corner with information on holistics vets, pet insurance and different services she provides. For more information, visit chloescorner.net or call (480) 220-1404.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

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